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Hardball With Chris Matthews

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Washington 13, Delaware 10, U.s. 8, America 7, Christine O'donnell 6, John Boehner 6, Obama 5, Harry Reid 5, Msnbc 5, Mitch Mcconnell 5, Murkowski 4, California 4, Nancy Pelosi 4, Joe Miller 4, Nissan 4, Barack Obama 3, Katherine 3, Chuck 3, Florida 3, West Virginia 3,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2010)  (CC)  

    September 14, 2010
    7:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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win tonight because they believe she would be an easier opponent than mike castle. ed? >> we will find out if change can beat big name recognition. nbc kelly's o'donnell. thanks, kelly, appreciate your time tonight. and our telephone sur acres have i asked you, do you think kids should need a parental permission slip to watch president obama's speech? 4% of you said yes, 96% of you said no. what's wrong with public education in america? that's "the ed show," i'm ed schultz, chris matthews and "hardball" is next. we will see you tomorrow night. tea party on the delaware. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington again. leading tonight, the little state that could. will dell wake first state to sign the constitution, be the one to make or break the
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conservatives' chances of taking over the u.s. senate this year? tonight, we get the results of the big tea party challenge of christine o'donnell to possibly win the republican nomination for senate over mike castle. if she does, it will be the eighth time in this political season that a far right of center candidate beat out the favorite for a gop senate nomination. are conservatives ready to dump anyone who even wants to talk to democrats? we'll look at all the big races in seven states tonight and the district of columbia and what's at stake at the top of the show. also, there's a great political battle brewing over taxes. my question, who wins if congress fails to stop this tax hike if nothing gets done? who wins then? who wins if the tax cuts are extended for all of us? who wins in november? and harry reid exchanges tweets with lady gaga over gays openly serving in the military. he says he'll try to get a vote
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this week on ending don't ask, don't tell. could this be about the election? why not just get rid of don't ask, don't tell, period. we'll be back at midnight tonight, 9:00 on the west coast, with a special primary night edition of "hardball" to give you the full returns from delaware, new hampshire, d.c., everywhere else in the country. but the biggest from delaware, which will decide, many people think, whether the republicans have a really good chance or a very slight chance of winning the senate this year. we start with primary night with chuck todd. he's chief white house correspondent and chief political director for nbc. chuck, you're my guy. tell me, who's going to win tonight in delaware? just kidding. nobody knows. christine o'donnell was way back in the pack, way beyond previous cases like rand paul and nikki haley. nobody was further back. she gets the big kiss of whatever from sarah palin. now, she's gunning for knocking off a guy the biden family was
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afraid to take on in delaware, mike castle. what's happened? >> if you want to find the trend here when it comes to the tea party endorsed candidates upending the establishment, delaware is certainly right for it. it's a small state. it's a closed primary. what do i mean by that? it means independents can't show up and pick a republican ballot. only registered republicans. so, there's number two. a long-time incumbent, even though he's running for the u.s. senate for the first time, mike castle has held office in delaware, a very small state, pretty much every year continuously since 1966. so the ingredients are all there for this, for history to repeat itself, what we saw in alaska. in an odd way, that was a convention process, but so few republicans are going in delaware, it's like a large convention process of what's
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going on. and even of what happened in kentucky with rand paul. so, all the ingredients are there except this difference. number one is that mike castle went after o'donnell, hit her hard. granted, only in the last three weeks. hit her hard after he saw what happened to lisa murkowski. and two, a lot of mainstream conservatives that have been supportive of the tea party movement outside of palin and jim demint, have discredited o'donnell. >> i'm looking at her face. looks to be the new look at the conservative right. looks to be female, very camera-ready. very good on television, the radio. very articulate in the sense of being able to make a big, hard-lined push seem nice and important. all the talents that matter to american politics today and the old establishment candidates seem a little tired. mike castle looks tired. just the telegenic factor of getting on there with a big
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smile. saying, look, i am today, he is yesterday. >> i think when you're trying to tell delaware republicans change, or the guy you've been voting for in republican candidates since, in his case, 1980, or the new gal? sure, i think just on simply she looks more like change to the delaware conservative. but you know, there's another tension going on here, chris, and that is this tension you're seeing playing out inside the senate republican caucus, which is how important is control of getting those 51 republican senators that puts mitch mcconnell in control, versus purity. jim demint has said he wants 30 marco rubios rather than having majority made up of a charlie crist or arlen specter. >> let's look at rush limbaugh now that concerns the country. if you're a liberal, watch this. the action ideologically right now is in the right. the democratic party is what
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it's been, center left. barack obama may be a tad to the left of the democratic party, but not more than a tad. the republican party though is in play. it's in flux. it's the way it was in the '60s. this is where the action is ideology, being yanked to the far right. >> i have no brief for christine o'donnell, but i'm going to tell you a senate full of mike castles is not going to get us anywhere. it's going to get a bunch of republicans their chairmanships on the committee, but it's not going to do anything to reverse obamaism. not one thing. if that's our majority with a bunch of mike castles there, we are in trouble. >> well, there you have it. the walrus under water has spoken. there he is making his point. jonathan martin is there right now. jonathan, this question, you are from politico, right? >> yes, sir. >> you are the hottest ticket in town, politico. tell me this. >> thank you. >> is this the mood of the
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country? are conservatives willing to maybe risk a seat so get the right person? >> you assume that the person in delaware is thinking, if i vote for her over castle, is that going to imperil our possibilities to get to the senate? >> more fun vote for o'donnell or castle? >> if you're a conservative in delaware, probably her. >> if you go into that voting booth, what's more fun to go into the voting booth and really kick butt and really give it some oomph or some juice and now that you made a difference or say, yeah, we'll keep it going the way it's been going for 30 years and vote for castle. i'm dead serious, chuck. you know politics. chuck, do you think voters like to go in there and put some juice in that voting machine? >> they just don't vote on electability. there is always an exception, but frankly, more times than not, a primary voter is motivated by
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their principles and ideology. >> has the republican party in its main, not the old breed party, the new breed of hot ticket, hot tea party types, they're voting to me the way the old liberals used to vote. they used to have a phrase called ndc. it meant new democratic coalition but it also meant november doesn't count. are republicans voting like democrats used to vote, november doesn't count? >> in your heart you know she's right? >> exactly. you're seeing some of that because your conservatives in a place like delaware, or nationally, they want somebody who's going to toe the party line. purity trumps all. keep in mind here, chuck, delaware is a very unique place. castle is a solid brand there. >> if he is so solid, why is he going dirt ball? >> here he is with a robocall using her former campaign manager. right. >> in a primary. a closed primary.
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>> this isn't exactly establishment behavior, it is like crocker jarmon in the movie going negative. here he is showing an ad from the voice of christine o'donnell's former campaign manager. it's running on the radio. actually, to on the television today. >> hi, this is kristen murray. in 2008, i was the campaign manager for senate candidate christine o'donnell. i got into politics because i believe in conservative values and wanted to make a difference, but i was shocked to learn christine o'donnell is no conservative. you see, this is her third senate race in five years. as o'donnell's manager i found out she was living on campaign donations, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt. >> take that, chuck todd. i mean really, this is really -- tell me how that works. >> he basically kept running for office and pulled -- and actually pulled a salary the last time.
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it is legal to actually pay yourself a salary of the job you're running for if you're running for the u.s. house or the u.s. senate in those new campaign finance rules. but look, the fact that there's another big-picture thing going on here and we may see the democrats go through this if republicans win control of both the house and senate this year, which is when a party loses, they have an ideological fight and the base always wins in the short term. the question is, does it work in the long term? >> the old breed and hot tickets and i look at what's happening. what a roll they're on. nevada, they put in sharron engel. in alaska, they brought in joe miller out of nowhere. in utah, they've got this guy mike lee. in florida, you've got rubio. in pennsylvania, you've got toomey.
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toomey is an old-bred party guy. in every case, they're bumped. this is a party in rapid transition. this is a party that's not the old party of gerry ford and dick nixon. it's a new kind of party. >> what you just rattled off is why -- it explains why castle's airing that call that you just played. because he saw what happened with murkowski, bob bennet, all these folks who said it's not going to happen to me. >> he said he doesn't like to get dirty or rough. here he is, nate silver, one of our experts, if castle wins, ayotte wins tonight in new hampshire, if they both lose, he says it's a lot rougher to win. i think they can still win and net ten if they pull off some upsets in california and wisconsin, places like that.
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your thoughts? >> my last four senate seats, there are 13 democratic senate seats in play. the last four to flip in my mind are connecticut, west virginia, california and nevada. okay? and if you pull delaware out of the equation, that means republicans have to win two of those four that i identified, west virginia, connecticut, nevada and california. they are frankly all a tad uphill in one form or another. >> i just gave them to you in circles. >> i agree. >> they can get there. it's just a little bit harder if you pull delaware out of the equation. >> i'll tell you a fact we're not including. so many progressives i know are despondent. they don't think barack obama has been perfect. i think they are setting way too high a standard. that is my view. their view is he's not reaching their goals. that will be a question how that turnout occurs f only the red-hot right votes, look out everybody. that includes boxer that includes patty murly, that includes the governor of west
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virginia. they could all go if only people voting are the red-hot right and everybody else states home or goes to the movies or sits home in the rain. coming up, no country for old republicans. we are already working that side of the base. the far right is on the rise and when a candidate like mike castle is no longer safe in a state like delaware, you want to know just what's going on with the republican party these days. something big time is going. democratic party is uneasy about the president, republican party is in open rebellion. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ engine revving ] [ male announcer ] the u.s. government may soon require brake override technology on all new cars and trucks. at nissan, we think this is a good idea. so we did it... ...six years ago.
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shy of the democratic. that is a first-rate poll, look at that, 51-45, getting real close. she has got the money. she may get the women vote. that's it this could be a real big surprise. and he had a problem with his war record. he got that wrong. let's get this, nour ten people support mcmahon say they are doing so mainly because they are against blumenthal and has to do with talking about his war record inaccurately. if i were him, i'd straighten things out as quickly as possible. say you didn't serve in vietnam and you were wrong to suggest you did. it was a dishonor to the people serving. "hardball" returns after this. the shipping industry in norway, and the rubber industry, in south america? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex global economy. it's just one reason 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus
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back to "hardball." if mike castle loses tonight in the state of delaware, he'll become the eighth republican casualty of the party's right wing. why aren't we seeing a trend of conservative voters rejecting
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people for the senate and taking people from nowhere and what are the consequences for the republican party to build their houses from nowhere? the boy can write. national journalist, columnist, you were writing all those speeches, 2004 campaign. and sam stein -- i can't resist the chance to start with a real republican. matt, this used to be what the democrats did. tear themselves apart. the old phrase was ndc, november doesn't count. just have a great time in the primaries, doesn't matter as long as it's fun. your party seems to be doing that right now. maybe it will work. >> i don't know if many republicans would consider me a real republican since i have broken with real republicans on it, but i think what this is a reflection of is the frustration and anger that exists in america. and broadly, it's frustration, but in the republican primary,
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it's anger. and who's suffering in that is anybody who represents the establishment of washington. it's not necessarily an incumbent thing. it's the establishment or washington. it's intense, it's hot and it's passionate and it doesn't matter what's going to happen in november. >> what is the smell of washington that they don't like? give me it in the cruddiest terms. if you're a tea partier and you think of washington, smell it in your brain, what is it that you smell and don't like? what is it that washington is bad? >> and i don't think it has -- it's not fully what barack obama and his policies, i think it began in the last few years of bush, all the things that was spending. i think it is they think washington is disconnected from people's lives. they think washington spends money without regard for what's going on. they think republicans and democrats, regardless if they get along publicly, cut deals. i'll scratch your back and you scratch mine. they're only interested in
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rising on the ladder, only interested in what they can get out of washington, in power for power's sake. they're not interested in designing and having a government that reflects where they are in their life. i think that's what it is. and it doesn't matter if you're a democrat or republican. if they feel you represent that, then they don't like you. >> this is ancient almost primordial feeling. robert reich described it as the rot at the top, the big shots in washington are selling you out, wasting your money that you paid from tax money and the mob at the gate. whatever that means to you. illegal immigration, whatever it means. minorities. welfare cheats. the mob at the gate and rot at the top and you're stuck in the middle. that's where a lot of voters feel right now, obviously. >> look at these republican primaries. i mean, if you look soberly at the candidates that were defeated, these were defeated. they did things wrong. >> they did things wrong.
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here are the republican tea party candidates toppled by tea party candidates or couldn't win with. the guy that couldn't lose in kentucky. lost to rand paul couldn't win but didn't. florida's charlie crist. a popular governor driven out by rubio. utah's senator. knocked off in his election by tea parties. murkowski out of nowhere defeated by joe miller. pennsylvania's arlen specter, never lost a race blown away by pat toomey. forced to quit the party and become a democrat. sue lowdon, blown away by sharron engel. jane norton -- i'm looking at these people, you were doing a morning line on this, you'd say everyone was going to win. >> each of them had a problem, in one way or another. a lot of times, they were the pick of the establishment. in other cases like with
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bennet, there was a specific vote. and with murkowski, there was hint she may support -- >> this morning with savannah guthrie on "morning joe" asked mitch mcconnell if republicans are rejecting his picks for office. let's listen. >> seven of the establishment republican picks, candidates you got behind in primaries, have gone down to defeat, including in your home state of kentucky. so, do you feel like the republican party is rebuking your and the establishment picks? >> well, look, the primaries -- the voters in the primaries get to decide who the nominees are. there was one state, utah, where the primary voters didn't get a chance to decide. it was done by convention. but you know, those things sort themselves out and we'll get behind the nominees of the party. the real elections are not in primaries or conventions. they are in november and as i
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said, i'm optimistic i'm going to be the leader of a larger group than i am now. >> what a survivor if there ever was one. mitch mcconnell has had his head buried in a gopher hole for a year and a half. he's coming out -- he'll probably get a wreath for that, but he didn't want these candidates, did he? >> no, i mean, he we wanted candidates that were part of the mainstream, sort of get along, get along. i think the guy on election day, regardless of the way it turns out, who should have a real fear about some of these guys coming to the senate. these guys are not going there in order to get along and go along. these grice not going there in order to get along and go along and they are not going to -- if you you think they have disagreements with the democrats, they are going to show real disagreements with the senate, future senate minority -- majority leader if he wins.
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>> are these voter and i think voters great and i think democracy has been spectacular for this country for 200-plus years and always amazed me how people are really smart, are they electing people that bark at the moon? really to come back to washington and go oooo, bark at the moon and make weird noises a the their other member, don't meet anybody else, don't shake hands with anybody in the establishment, don't get a house in washington, maybe stay in a hotel but really keep away from the people because they are evil and dirty? do they want them to join the senate? >> they want them to show up and represent their interests. they like term limits. rand paul today said something important. he said he was going to help filibuster any budget that wasn't balanced. we have joe miller -- >> balanced? >> yeah. >> 1.6 trillion out of the debt? >> i don't know how they're going to do it. they have joe miller who says he wants to get rid of social security. you have a bunch of people who want to get rid of the department of education. these aren't people that want to work within the republican tent. they want to change the
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government as we know it. it will create problems in the gop. we talked about a ""star wars"" fight scene that is what it is going to be. >> matt? >> chris, i want to say one thing. there's a huge distrust of the federal government. it's not just a tea party it is broadly in the country. anybody that presents a federal government solution to a problem is automatically suspect. barack obama has created his own problems by presenting many federal government solutions to the problem. this is not going away. whether these tea party folks win or not, there's a majority who does not trust the federal government to deal with problems anymore. >> well, that's been the pro grows sives' failure. the democratic party, like it love it or hate it is the party of government t has to make the case for progressive, successful, effective government that meets the needs of the people at a reasonable price in terms of taxes or it will be rejected. in this term it looks like it is getting rejected. thank you so much. thank you, matt. thank you, sam stein t is the challenge to progressives.
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conservatives win when people lose faith in government. >> yeah. >> that is the main case from day one. up next, we know republicans love to demon nice nancy pelosi, a new ad from her opponent in san francisco may be going kind of far. the wicked witch from "the wizard of oz" with. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] the u.. government may soon require brake override technology on all new cars and trucks. at nissan, we think this is a good idea. so we did it... ...six years ago. [ wind howling ] nissan. innovation for safety. innovation for all.
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now time for "sideshow." first making a splash, nancy pelosi's republican challenge is all be sure losing this november. but that doesn't mean he won't get down in the mud. check out this new web ad. >> hello, mythe pretest. i will save you from those evil republicans. and here are my monkeys to make you pay for it all. >> get back, everyone. >> oh, i'm melting. >> thank you for saving us.
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who are you? >> i'm john dennis, i'm running for congress. i believe in following the constitution and i believe in reducing debt and i believe it's time to throw a little water on politicians who say one thing and do another, like nancy pelosi. >> we're home, toto, we're home. >> wow. deb his says to look out for more par rod disfrom him. "a few good men" one of them and james bond the coming months, whatever those are like. pelosi's last republican opponent won a grand total of 10% of the vote. next, back-to-school politics. remember when jim greer laughed at president obama for giving a speech to texas school kids? he accused the president of quote using taxpayer dollars -- to indoctrinate america's children to his social agenda. he has had an epiphany. here's what he put out today to a philadelphia school.
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well, greer's break with republicans may have been helped by the fact he's facing charges of fraud and money laundering from his tenure in florida. finally, you think rahm emanuel's a shoo-in for the mayor of chicago? think again. former illinois senator carol moseley-braun is set next week to announce she's running. this can't be missed. it's going to be one heck of a fight in chicago. up next, who wins the big political battle over taxes? i think taxes is going to be knocking on the door of voters. democrats say republicans are holding the people hostage so they can get tax cuts.
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the debate is straight ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. my name is vonetta, and i suffer from allergies. [ male announcer ] we asked zyrtec® users what they love about their allergy relief, and what it lets them do. the thing i love most about zyrtec® is that it allows me to be outside. [ male announcer ] we bet you'll love zyrtec®, too -- or it's free. [ vonetta ] it is countdown to marshmallow time. [ woman laughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] every business day, bank of america lends billions of dollars, to individuals, institutions,
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i'm millissa rehberger, here is what is happen. an american hiker held in iran for a year is free. sarah showered says she will be working immediately to free her had two companions. bomb threats shut down the i havele tour today after the senate voted to ban the wearing of burqas in public. hurricane igor churns toward the caribbean and hurricane julia is on its heels. the pentagon unveiled a plan aimed at getting more bang for the taxpayer's buck. 23 new rules to make programs more affordable and avoid costly delays. a congressional investigation found one of the egg farms at the center of this
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summer's massive recall tested positive for salmonella 426 times in the past two years. and former usc running back reggie bush will give up his 2005 heisman award after the ncaa found he received illegal benefits during his years as a trojan. now back to "hardball." i'm not going to answer all these hypotheticals. i'm going to tell you what i think we ought to be fighting extension of the current tax rates. >> that was mitch mcconnell on morning rundown. "daily rundown."
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let me ask you both, doesn't everybody want a tax cut? >> is this to me? >> doesn't everybody want a tax cut? personally? personally want a tax cut? >> the polling is interesting on this is that a number of people don't support the tax cuts. >> sounds like they do. >> no, they don't. say should we extend the bush tax cut, 52% of americans say no. i think it is because they think that those tucks cut goes to rich people. you say should you extend them for rich people or the middle class? i think what john boehner has done -- >> let me try something by you, tried it before we went on the air. if nothing happens, everybody's taxes go up in january who wins then? we go to the voting booth and everybody walks to the voting booth and nothing happens,
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therefore, everybody's taxes are going up in january because they couldn't get a bill passed, who wins then, democrats or republicans? >> not a vacuum there already a floor fight there will be be a debate f they can't get a bill passed, this is what the election is about making this decision. >> won't people blame the democrats because they are in power? >> i think if you -- if you -- again, mr. boehner helped us make this case, if you are able to say i wanted to vote for -- for tax cuts, to extend tax cuts for the middle class, wanted to give $700 billion in more tax cuts to rich people and i wanted to stop that, and we are going to come back and fix it next year. >> democratic polling stan greenberg is making her case it does say that people are willing to fight this fight, that the rich shouldn't get the tax cuts. the democrats believe this i hear nancy pelosi believe it is in her gut and she's going to fight like heck on this. what do you say? >> it's a mistake, to answer your first question. i can't think of anybody in this country who wouldn't want a tax cut. but the class warfare
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distinction, i think the democrats are making a mistake. if the democrats do nothing between now and the election, democrats can go back and say, see, we told you. >> i would say most americans, like 95%, don't know anybody, shaken hands, know anybody, who makes over a quarter million a year. >> i believe that. >> they are counties in pennsylvania that don't. 100,000. >> this is politics rather than sound economic policy. the problem is we have had an administration that has spent almost a trillion dollars on a stimulus bill by saying we're going to get out of the ditch by using kenzian economics. >> let's not get into that. let's talk taxes here. if the bill gets passed and the tax cut goes through and the middle class, the 250,000 and below get the tax cuts, who wins? i want an honest answer, dems or republicans, if they get the tax cut through.
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>> 250,000 and below, i think the democrats win because they are fighting for working families. >> i think you can agree on that. >> i do actually. >> suppose it goes out somewhere in the middle and ends up the only bill they can get passed is a one- or two-year extension for everybody, who wins then? >> i think the democrats win that. they can say see, president obama's trying to meet the republicans halfway. we can't raise taxes in a bad economic time. >> so anything passes, the democrat wins. nothing passes, the republicans win? >> i think that's right. >> do you agree? >> i do. >> so now, we know the game. the republicans will do everything they can to delay this. >> a two-year or permanent extension. >> but they're willing to take the loss because if nothing gets passed, they win. you think they win? >> because we're going to have a fight about it. >> let's listen to president obama on this issue because i think it's tricky, but most people follow common sense. if democrats are in power and they don't get their tax cut, they blame democrats.
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if democrats are in power and they go get their tax cut they thank democrats a little bit. let's listen to the president. >> we could get that done this week. but we're still in this wrestling match with john boehner and mitch mcconnell about the last 2 to 3%, where, on average, we'd be giving $100,000 for people making a million dollars or more. >> can the president of the united states turn these guys into target practice? >> you've got to define -- >> john boehner's a friend of mine. i love the guy. i'm positive most people don't know who john boehner is. >> we know he smokes. >> who cares. look, the important thing here is that this doesn't look presidential. you have the president of the united states out there saying john boehner and mcconnell. you have the bully plat form, you have the pulpit. >> you make that point well. isn't that the problem for the
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president of the united states, don't blame me, i'm running the country. i've got a democratic party running the congress. blame this guy from ohio that smokes and plays golf. >> it happens to be true, that they are the ones standing in the way of him doing -- his problem with the midterms for the democrats have been that it's just referendum on the economy and what the white house is trying to do, and i think it's smart to do, is to make it a choice. that is what voters make it. they are making a choice between obama's direction and john boehner's republican direction. >> let me ask you the bottom line. the tea party throughout there, it's been almost an insurrection for a year and very effective. they've won seven big races, knocking out establishment figures, people that couldn't be beaten. specter, crist, murkowski, bob bennet, incumbents and challengers. knocked them all out. their focus is against government, against taxes. are they going drive the
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republican thinking on this to the point where it's the number one issue, we've got to get tax cuts? >> absolutely. republicans got fired because we spent too much, forgot what we came from. we became like democrats. tea party people from around this country are sick and tired of the con vens aal wisdom washington knows best, we can it will what you money you are going to keep and not. >> thank you, jennifer and ryan. a hot hand. up next, what's harry reid doing with the military and his don't ask don't tell policy and he wants a vote. what happens inside the military if they get rid of don't ask and don't tell? we're going to talk about those questions, the politics and reality of getting rid of don't ask don't tell and having open service for people, which looks to be the future. the question is when is it coming and how are people going to handle it? this is "hardball," only on msnbc. maybe you want to provide meals for the needy. or maybe you want to help when the unexpected happens.
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lady gaga. senator harry reid tweets a military policy into one, tonight, lady gaga sent this tweet and photo. it reads, gay veterans were my vma dates. repeal don't ask, don't tell. call harry reid to schedule vote. well, he scheduled vote and retweeted this today in reply to lady gaga. kathrine miller decided to leave the military because she no longer wanted to serve under don't ask, don't tell. she was one of lady gaga's dates, if you will. matt alexander served 18 years. he's an adviser on ot vote vets.org. and he is author of "how to break a terrorist." let me ask you both, let's assume that this is going to come to a vote. it may not get the 60 this time. it may get -- the courts may
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rule on this. it may take a year, it may take a little longer than that. what do you think will be the difference when we have open service? how would it be different, katherine, do you believe? >> actually, i think we're overestimating the differences repealing don't ask, don't tell will entail. i think it's going to be a smooth transition. the military's more than prepared to make this transition and i've been exceedingly proud of them. really, i think we're overestimating the differences it's going to take. . matthew, what will be the difference? >> i think morale will actually improve, because we have members serving in the military today who aren't allowed to disclose their sexuality. i have a good friend who won a silver star in afghanistan who got out of the military because of this policy. it's not because he was forced out, but because he felt it created an atmosphere that wasn't conducive for him continuing to serve.
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we lose people for that and we are all the worse for it. >> why are people against open service? why are why is it going to be so hard for harry reid to get 60 votes this week to stop a fill buster? who is resisting this? the public seems to be for it. who is fighting it? >> it's a really small minority. i feel this minority in my case cadets, but soldiers at large and some of our general officers, they're very vocal about their homophobia, and they're scared of making this transition. >> why are they scared? try to figure it out. >> i think that's a different question. mainly there is a big generational gap between the general officer corps and our rising leaders, our second lieutenants because homosexuality is a fairly new concept to these people. so i think the generational gap is causing a lot of fear and discomfort at the higher levels. >> matthew, why are people against this? why are we arguing this thing?
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young people, i know all the numbers -- in fact, the country is overwhelmingly for open service now. i predict they're not going to get the 60 votes. there is a cultural resistance. jim webb, the center from virginia, there are people in the democratic party, senator john mccain in the republican party with a lot of military background. they don't want this. >> well, it's a political issue is why. it's not reflected by the people in the military. especially the younger generations of people in the military, and it's definitely not reflected by the public who acknowledges that we already have homosexuals serving in the military who are performing admirably. they're already serving side by side. they're already sleeping in the same tents. the logistics of it that people use as an excuse are not even valid because homosexuals are already serving in the military, and we're already performing our missions without them being able to serve openly. but allowing them to serve openly will give everybody equal chance to serve this country based on their competency, not based on their sexuality. >> let me ask you about a couple over things that might trouble
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some people. some people argue we separate the sexes in the barracks for good reason. they go out on leave, whenever they mix among the genders and whatever sex they enjoy, they certainly have romance and attraction. the way they separate who ray tracked to each other is put them in different barracks. do you have to make any kind of adjustments once you have open service for gay people as well? your thoughts, katherine. just leave the military conduct requirements exactly the way they are. >> i mean absolutely i think we have uniform code of military justice and we have regulations already in place to regulate conduct. and if there is a problem, we're going to address it. it's under no circumstances is it okay for, you know, a senior to be in a relationship with a subordinate, or two roommates. >> so fraternization rules would just have to be strictly enforced you're saying? for example, a drill instructor who may have an attraction to somebody in the ranks and everything everybody knows about it, that would cause a lot of problems obviously.
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but you say you can deal with that in terms of discipline there is to be no camaraderie, no discipline between the ranks? >> to the existing military policy that we have already regulating these behaviors. if it's unacceptable behavior for heterosexuals, it's also unacceptable for homosexuals. we're not asking for special treatment. we're asking for equality in this. >> matthew, i hear these arguments. i was in the peace corps. we didn't have any issue, obviously. but the fact is there are people who argue you can't have the same barracks people who are attracted to each other. do you see any requirements for changing the rules to make that obviously a more disciplined situation than it has to be right now? >> no, i don't, chris. i have been a criminal investigator for the military for almost eight years, and we quit investigating homosexual conduct years ago because we realized it doesn't affect unit morale. it's based on -- we have a uniform code of military justice, and our investigations and our corrective action should be based on conduct, misconduct. and not on someone's sexuality.
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>> well, we're going have this argument for a while because it looks like it's not going to pass right now. the courts are getting into this. i think it's getting close to an unstoppable force to bring open service. but thank you so much. katherine, it's great to have you on this show. it is an honor to have you on. well, you have been through a lot and a great spokesperson for this issue. matthew alexander as well. thank you both for coming on. when we return, i'll have some thoughts why it's time to end don't ask, don't tell. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] at&t and blackberry have teamed up to keep your business moving. introducing the blackberry torch. at&t. rethink possible. [ dog barking ] [ sniffing ] [ male announcer ] missing something? like 2 pairs of glasses for $99.99 at sears optical,
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let me finish tonight with the question of open service in the u.s. military. i think don't ask, don't tell was probably destined to be an intermediate solution in the debate between those who supported and those who opposed open service. the premise was that a gay person would agree to a strange compact on joining the military services. a gay person would be allowed to serve as other americans do, but only if he or she didn't say they were gay. if they didn't declare their sexual orientation in some other direct way. the problem, as has been explained on this show is this don't ask, don't tell role didn't apply to straight soldiers. they could come back from a weekend pass full of romantic exploits for all to hear. the gay soldier would have to keep quiet on what he or she did over the weekend. to do otherwise would be to violate the compact. my hunch is soldiers learn not to ask gay soldiers questions
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about their lives for the simple reason is it would require them to tell, which is grounds for discharge. so the u.s. senate on the verge of dumping don't ask, don't tell, primarily because the american public has changed its mind on this matter. never has it changed its mind so quickly, so dramatically. the social acceptability of anti-gay biases rapidly diminishing, just as it did in the years after world war ii towards catholics, and also for jewish people. and sadly, only gradually for african-americans. military service was one reason prejudice began to die. it's hard to deny a person full acceptance when you know firsthand how they have given for our country. here we have a case of a group of americans ready to fight for our country, openly and with full pride in who they are. the american people have never changed their minds so quickly. perhaps the reasons are not so different from the reasons why wartime in the 1940s saw such a shift in national attitudes. perhaps one powerful reason for the acceptance of gay